The conscience of our films
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I was at home one evening with my mother and other relatives who were so keen on watching a twi-dubbed Mexican soap opera on one of the television channels.

I personally didn’t like the Mexican soap operas because I found the storylines to be mostly predictable.

Moreover, the romantic scenes in such films made me highly uncomfortable knowing very well that most children love to watch such programmes.

After a failed attempt to persuade my mother to have the channel changed, I had to lay back and quietly let them enjoy their programme.

Alas, within a second, a romantic scene played out in the film. The once comfy face of a mother suddenly spelt awkwardness while those of my relatives immediately shut for the scene to pass.

As embarrassing and awkward as it felt, I laughed out the shame and quickly grabbed the television remote to change the channel.

The incident did not stop my mother or my other relatives from watching their favourite programme.

The fact that the film could speak so well to our conscience got me wondering if our films do have a conscience.

Nina LaCour rightly puts it in her book “Everything Leads to You” when she said, “We love films because they make us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small.”

The film industry is undoubtedly one of the most lucrative ventures in the entertainment industry worldwide. It is directly employing hundreds of thousands of people and indirectly giving jobs to millions.

It makes economic sense to produce movies after all; people become happy when they invest more in their emotions.

Through films, we get initiated into an imaginary world of love, poverty, enmity, sorcery, religion and war. These are experiences which might never happen in our lifetime anyway.

Children entangled in the craze of entertainment would mimic the way a certain actor talked or interpreted a character in a particular movie.

Some went to the extreme of dressing to look like these actors. As children, we memorised theme songs of movies, and catchphrases of scripts and we even adopted the names of characters. We were dying to be like these actors.

On the international scene, the Kun-Fu bravura of Jet Li and Jackie Chan made us wish we were born in china.

The shooting prowess of Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger made us love the gun like hell.

A beaming smile on the face of the little boy over the gift of a toy gun consummates the love for “action” in the younger generation.

Back here in Ghana, every child born in the late 1980s had the detective ability of ‘Inspector Bediako’.  The Nigerian and Ghanaian films filled our heads with superstition manifested in Cultism, shrines, evil spirits, and money rituals.

By design, our thirst for vengeance and violence had been whipped up by the kind of action movies we watched.

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We enjoyed watching so many people getting killed in order for someone to accomplish a ‘mission’. In the name of entertainment, we drive our world in such a direction that makes people value less the lives of others.

Our films teach us to make a Hero-villain situation out of every conflict where the hero never dies. We are taught how most problems get solved by simply pulling the trigger.

We are fed with stories of how young people live the ‘good life’ by riding fancy cars, owning big mansions, drinking alcohol and having lots of women.

In the name of being informative and entertaining, we over-graciously give the graphic details of heinous crimes such as murder, rape, kidnap operations and armed robbery.

How did we acquire the idea of tampering with car brakes in order to cause an accident? Talk about the use of inflammatory languages, increased suicide rate even among children, gun violence, and the ever-increasing knowledge of sophisticated weapons

According to the research gate website, Studies have shown that gun violence has more than tripled in PG-13-rated films (movie category mostly for the youth) since 1985. Since 2009 there has equally been much or more violence in PG-13 films as there has been in R-rated films.

The study concluded that, even if the youth do not use guns, they are exposed to gun violence in top-selling movies.

The wound deepens when we talk about nudity and dishabille in the name of fashion. Talk about the sexual content deliberately diluted in most of the movies we watch with our kids.

Subconsciously, we expose the kids to the exploitative nature of sex which leads to promiscuity at a very tender age.

The bits and pieces of homosexuality hardly go unnoticed in our films. You hardly find a romantic comedy without a line in a script or a character on homosexuality. This is indirectly telling us lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) is here to stay.

It is ironically amazing how we idolise our movie stars for the great roles they played in the movies that consequentially exploit, control and instigate us against one another.

We have made them our global ambassadors for peace and humanity. We ride on the popularity of their brands to make the world a ‘better place’.

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